Monday, 27 January 2014

Dead Can Dance- Anastasis – PIAS Recordings

Dead Can Dance are a Neoclassical Dark Wave English-Australian band who originally formed in 1981. The band then disbanded in 1998, only to reform in 2005 for a world tour and again in 2012 to create ‘Anastasis’.  I have to admit, I’d never heard of them till my Dad played a track, and I can tell you, it was instant love.

The album opens with ‘Children Of The Sun’, which wouldn’t be out of place performed in a church with its air of holiness and its sense of grandeur; synths glisten, guitar chimes and brass fill the gaps as Brendan Perry’s voice softly booms and echo’s.  ‘Anabasis’ has an Eastern exotic sound to it, added to by Lisa Gerrard’s heavenly vocals which are like something you’d hear on the ‘The Lord Of The Ring’s’ soundtrack. ‘Agape’ follows this Eastern tone with wailing strings and a seductive steady beat, creating a hypnotic atmosphere; you can picture belly dancers round a campfire in the dead of night.

‘Amnesia’ breaks away from this. It’s melancholic and regretful with its lonel

y piano, slow pace and shimmering organ and Perry’s vocals are deep and mournful. ‘Kiko’ continues this mood with its commanding opening and Pornography era Cure feel. This is effortlessly mixed in with an Eastern style guitar melody and Gerard’s Elf like vocals that soar high above. ‘Opium’ is softer and innocent, led by tribal drumming, and Perry’s deep vocals, which sound more hopeful. ‘Return Of The She-King’ again sounds like a track from The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack. It’s proud, grand, royal and has a celebratory feeling to it.

The closing track ‘All In Good Time’ is dreamy as his creamy vocals and the sleepy violins wash over you, like gentle waves lapping on the shore.

Listening to Anastasis is more than just listening to an album, it’s an experience and an emotional journey.


Friday, 3 January 2014

Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves

Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves- Fiction Records

‘In Rolling Waves' is the bands second album, which was recorded in LA despite the band hailing from New Zealand. It shows signs of growth and maturity even though it holds the same sounds of the first, though I do believe they have upped themselves, which I am impressed by as ‘Passive Me Aggressive You’ is a stunning debut.

Album opener ‘A Stillness’ had a catchy folk guitar with icy synths creating a rather unusual yet enjoyable sound; like Inuit folk pop stars. Single ‘Hearts Like Ours’ is one of their ice cold pop songs with that trademark guitar fuzz and vocals filled with longing-perfect. It’s catchy, makes you want to dance while also filling you with an unnameable emotion, which contrasts with ‘Waltz’ as it’s like a snowy landscape, cold and simple yet beautiful. While, ‘The Mess’ builds into a fuzzy wall and echoed vocals unite. Much of the album has these sounds.

 ‘Grow Old’ is slow and mournful with distorted vocals and slow piano. Feedback glides over the top occasionally. The album picks up with ‘I Kill Giants’, as it’s warm and glitters, like the sun shining on ice.  This feeling is kept alive with the Teen anthem ‘What We Want’ with its charming guitar and soaring vocals.  ‘We Are Leaving’ has an empty feeling with the simple piano low vocals and pattering drums.

Concluding song ‘A Small Reunion’ is romantic with acoustic guitar a violin and united vocals that seem to whisper in your ear. The song slowly builds giving it a fuller feeling. It’s a heart-warming way to end such an outstanding album.